Herd Immunity

We often hear that there’s a tradeoff between saving lives and economic performance. In this case of COVID-19, there’s not. They go together. Reaching Herd Immunity may be the way to bring the economy and daily lives back to normal as soon as possible.

Kotlikoff in the NYT: A Cheap, Simple Way to Control Covid

Paper-strip tests are inexpensive and easy enough to make that Americans could test themselves every day. You would simply spit into a tube of saline solution and insert a small piece of paper embedded with a strip of protein. If you are infected with enough of the virus, the strip will change color within 15 minutes….  The price per person would be from $1 to $5 a day. The Food and Drug Administration should encourage their development and then fast track approval. More

Short-Term Insurance Is Not The Problem. It’s The Solution

Forbes

Democrats in Congress are trying to abolish short-term, limited-benefit insurance, but that insurance is on the rise because people want it. Democrats complain that today’s short-term plans don’t cover services people might need.  “What if you get sick and need expensive drugs?” they might ask. The answer is: you drop your short-term plan and enroll in an Obamacare plan. More

The Five Deadly Sins Of Private Health Insurance

Forbes

In health care we are not getting the benefits from competition that we receive in markets for other goods and services. The reason for that is unwise government regulation. Under the current system, We don’t allow health plans to specialize in something they are really good at. Say a plan is very good at diabetic care. If we would allow it to restrict its enrollment to diabetics and focus exclusively on their care, it would probably improve even further. Instead, we require health plans to be all things to all enrollees. More

Masking Is Our Only Answer

South Korea, Taiwan, Beijing and Hong Kong have weathered the coronavirus far better than other countries. On a per capita basis, these countries and cities had more than 100 times as many Wuhan visitors as New York City or Milan. But they’ve each done an outstanding job of controlling the virus. So, what has really worked in these five places as well as in China, which has put a tight lid on COVID-19? The answer is in plain sight from pictures of daily life in the five success stories: People wear masks. And they do so with complete discipline. More

Goodman: Has Liberalism Lost Its Mind?

Although liberals often talk about helping the poor and reducing inequality, their most cherished reforms these days would tax the poor and subsidize the rich – making inequality worse than it otherwise would have been. Consider three ideas that are at the top of the mainstream liberal policy agenda: Medicare buy-in for young seniors, free college education and making it easier for workers (especially public employees ) to unionize. It’s hard to think of an agenda that is less progressive in the original meaning of the word. More

Five Financial Secrets to Surviving the Greatest Depression

Forbes

Here is the most important: Cut Your Spending and Tap Your Retirement Account Assets. Suppose you expect to be furloughed or laid off for the next two years. Using Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff’s one-of-its-kind life time financial planning software ( https://maxifiplanner.com/), you can adjust your annual spending downward by an appropriate amount and make two withdrawals from your IRA to tide you over. The CARES act lets you do this without penalty. More

Barry Asmus, RIP

Barry Asmus, who died March 30, 2020, studied at Montana State University, where he was mentored by economists at PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center. He picked up his appreciation of the free market from them (Richard Stroup was his thesis adviser). While Barry didn’t enter the environmental field, he became an advocate for the free market.

Study: Government Will Take Almost Half of Your Lifetime Income

In addition to the federal income tax and all its special provisions, there are 42 separate state income tax systems. Then there are more than 30 different federal entitlement programs (most of which are state specific), including Medicaid, Obamacare, TAFDC, SNAP, Housing Assistance, Child Care Assistance, and Energy Assistance, etc. Here’s the bottom line from Prof. Kotlikoff: the average household in this country can expect to keep about 57 cents out of every dollar of earnings. When you earn a dollar, you are only earning a little more than half of that dollar for yourself. The rest of the dollar will go to the government. More

Goodman on COVID: Deregulation is Saving Lives

Forbes

Regulations that lock down the economy are killing people. Deregulation is saving them. That’s the theme of several research projects at the GIPPR. It’s also the theme of John Goodman’s latest post at Forbes. Governmental bodies are repealing laws, suspending regulations, and ignoring previous restrictions that impeded the ability of the private sector to act. They are liberating doctors, nurses, drug manufacturers, test makers, makers of personal protective equipment, etc., to do things that were illegal to do only a few months ago. More